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Saturday, July 23, 2011

07/23/11 George Washington Attends Ribbon Reopening Ceremony at Palmer Hill Bridge

The historic Palmer Avenue bridge reopens after being closed for 11 days for repaving.

The repaving was the second phase of a million dollar refurbishment project that began last fall.

Town officials, residents and local business owners celebrate the completion of the renovations with a ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday morning.

Also attending was "George Washington" himself (played by RTM District 8 Member Christopher von Keyserling) — who read a proclamation for his "fourth crossing" on the historic bridge.

"This will be the fourth time I have crossed this bridge over the Mianus River," von Keyserling said, referring to his famous previous crossings of the bridge during Revolutionary times, as chronicled by historians. "My first time was with my troops hurrying to defend New York City. We were facing daunting odds against the greatest military empire ever."

"Thank God the good people of Horseneck and Sound Beach had built this bridge of the King's Highway between Philadelphia and Boston," he said. "You may remember that, at one time, the forces of King George had chased one of my best generals, Israel Putnam, out of Greenwich across this very bridge to rally the colonial forces of Stamford."

"Later, after we young Americans had won our independence at great sacrifice of blood and property, I returned to tour the New England states in order to consolidate and firm up our new Republic, our experiment form of government," he said. "Again I crossed this sturdy bridge, up and back."

"Now I will proudly cross the Palmer Hill Bridge for the fourth time in honor of those who built and continuously maintained it over almost four centuries, the People of Greenwich, and especially our modern patriots, the members and staff of the Greenwich Public Works Department, led by their own general, Amy Siebert," von Keyserling concluded.

After town officials cut the bright red ribbon that had been drawn across the bridge, workers immediately removed the construction barricades and allowed cars to pass through.

Area business owners said they were relieved the bridge was reopened.

The Town of Greenwich is reportedly eligible for reimbursement of 10 percent of the bridge project’s cost as part of a Federal Highway Administration program.

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